SAGUENAY - LAC-SAINT-JEAN, QC, March 31, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan is a major contributor to regional economic development, investing millions of dollars every year in its facilities in Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean, in a way that benefits future generations in the region. For example, we are investing more than a million dollars a day at its new AP60 plant in Jonquière. Improving the performance of our plants is the best way to ensure the economic and social vitality of the communities in which we operate.
"We are proud to have worked, innovated and invested in the region for the past 86 years. Our approach to business has made the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region a global centre of excellence for the aluminium industry and we are determined to maintain this leadership position. Our primary responsibility to the region is to make sure our plants remain competitive in the coming decades." This was the message delivered by Étienne Jacques, Chief Operating Officer, Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal, North America, in response to a demonstration today organized by union representatives at the Alma smelter.
"Rio Tinto Alcan negotiates in good faith with all its unions," he continued. "In fact, over the last 16 years, the company has resolved all its contract negotiations throughout the world without conflict. Unfortunately, in spite of our efforts, we could not avoid the conflict at the Alma plant," said Jacques.
The conflict has now in its third month and it is clearly to no one's benefit. The only way to resolve the conflict is by creating a calmer climate in which the two parties can negotiate respectfully with the help of the mediator.
"We believe that any actions contrary to this aim only serve to drive the parties away from the negotiating table and needlessly prolong the conflict," said Jacques.
Rio Tinto Alcan is one of the biggest private investors in the region, in Québec and in Canada. In the Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean region alone, the annual economic spin-offs of its operations (in the form of salaries and benefits, the purchase of goods and services, investments, school and municipal taxes, royalties and water rights) amount to nearly $1.3 billion. In addition, Rio Tinto Alcan is currently carrying out an extensive investment program, putting $3 billion into major projects.
Rio Tinto Alcan wants to focus on the issues at the Alma smelter with the aim of ensuring a return to work that will allow aluminium production to resume at full speed. The Alma smelter has a promising future and Rio Tinto Alcan intends to run the plant at its full capacity.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.
For further information:
Rio Tinto Alcan
Tel.: +1 514 848 8151